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City gives go-ahead for new Chick-Fil-A restaurant

By Corene Brisendine

City commissioners approved a zoning change designed to permit construction of a Chick-Fil-A drive-in restaurant in the Staples/Hastings/Hobby Lobby shopping area Tuesday.

Commissioners acted after Dale Houdeshell, the city’s director of public works, assured them that there would be enough drainage at the site. The Chuck-Fil-A will be constructed in the northwest corner of the lot.

Eric Cattell, assistant director for planning, said the restaurant must be raised four feet above the flood plain because the parking lot where it is to be built has flooded in the past. The site is along the old channel of the Blue River, which is now a large drainage ditch east of Tuttle Creek Boulevard. Houdeshell said water flow through the drainage ditch has been enhanced since the most serious floods, and Cattell noted that even though the entire area is within the 100-year flood plain, the levee protects most of it from flooding.

Other conditions for approval included changing the parking allowances. When Wal-Mart occupied the site years ago, a section in the southwest part of the parking lot was often used for other purposes during the summer months. Although the retailer moved to its present location years ago, the stipulation permitting that seasonal use was never removed from the PUD that governs development at the site. That will now be done, easing the parking allowances.

Other changes include removing the northern-most entrance into the shopping center, and putting a stop sign up at the northwest corner of Staples. Cattell said a lot of traffic uses the shopping center as a pass-through. By putting up the stop sign, creating a left-turn only intersection at the front of Staples, and taking out the entrance directly to the west, through-traffic should be reduced. Also, the owners of the center must sign an agreement to ensure they not only finish the new landscaping, but also maintain it.

The owners have also created two new signs naming the center Manhattan Crossing. The restaurant is to be built in the northwest corner of the shopping center at Tuttle Creek Boulevard, Frontage Road and Sarber Lane. Commissioners voted 4-0 to approve the changes, with Mayor John Matta absent from Tuesday’s meeting.

The commission also unanimously approved the rezoning of a lot where Manko wants to build an extension of its window manufacturing operation. Cattell said the workshop was “a good fit” with the other businesses at the location, which were mainly auto repair shops and glass shops. The commission approved the rezoning 4-0 without discussion.

Commissioners also voted 3-0-1 to change the zoning of a residential district on the east side of Manhattan to a lower density development. Rich Jankovich abstained because of a conflict with his job.

Jankovich also abstained from approving a development agreement for the K-State Research Park on the consent agenda for the same reason. The item was approved 3-0-1, and all other items on the consent agenda were approved 4-0.

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